Wednesday, July 06, 2011

The Lone Tree Declaration Dissected

The Constructive Curmudgeon re-posted The Lone Tree Declaration, which is a conservative manifesto "released in conjunction with the upcoming Western Conservative Summit, sponsored by Colorado Christian University."

1. In our adherence to the self-evident truths of the American Founding, we are conservatives.

2. In our debt to the civilizational heritage of Jerusalem, Athens, Rome, London, and Philadelphia, we are Westerners.

3. In our concern for the mounting threat to liberty, seeing freedom in the balance, we convene with solemn purpose at this Summit.

4. We seek a conservative renewal for our country through civic action that puts principle above party, resists the corruption of power, bridges intramural disagreements or rivalries, and protects an open public square centered on the nation’s Judeo-Christian core.

5. We commit ourselves unswervingly to a political and social order that upholds individual freedom and personal responsibility, limited government and the rule of law, free enterprise and private property, traditional family values and sanctity of life, compassion for the poor and voluntarism in service to others, natural law and morality, strong defense and secure borders, all in keeping with the original intent of the Constitution.

6. We reject, and will resist, the socialist temptation, transnational progressivism, secular utopian illusions, appeasement, disarmament, or capitulation to jihad and sharia.

Since I live just a few miles from Lone Tree, I feel I have a stake in this. Though the Declaration, which has a thinly-veiled undercurrent of xenophobia, is obviously not representative of the views of all Coloradans (or Lone-Tree-ers), it nonetheless will get the endorsement of many, particularly many who are easily swayed by declarations which appeal to the limbic system more than to the cerebral cortex. I thought of sending the following response to the blog where I found the Declaration, but then I thought I'd rather post here instead. So here's the point-by-point response.

1) It will be news to the liberals in this country that adhering to the allegedly (and hazily-defined or undefined) "self-evident truths of the American Founding" leads to conservatism.

2) It will be news, and unflattering news at that, to the Native-Americans, the Asians, Africans, the millions of immigrants from Eastern Europe, and many more, that "we" are Westerners.

3) You probably have to be a signatory of the Declaration to see freedom in the balance and liberty under a mounting threat. (And then again it might be, but not at the hands of foreigners and "Islamofascists"; rather at the end of the Supreme Court Justices who found for the plaintiff in Citizens United v. FEC, or who ruled that a class action suit brought against Walmart by 1.6 million women had no standing because the class lacked the element of sufficient commonality)

4) That's commendable, but what exactly does putting "principle above party" mean? Is it the same principle that allows transnational corporations to ship jobs out of the United States at the expense of Americans, for the glory of corporate profits? Methinks "principle" needs defining.

5) The unswerving commitment to "a political and social order that upholds individual freedom and personal responsibility" is also commendable, but it should not be at the top of the list (in order of appearance), otherwise it looks like a sneaky act of bait and switch: Traditional family values and the sanctity of life should be mentioned at the top, as they obviously trump the individual freedom and personal responsibility of individuals in the LGBT community, or those of incestuously raped or life-endangered girls and women who would presumably be forced to carry their pregnancies to term if the Lone Tree Declaration happened to be the founding manifesto for law of the land. The unswerving commitment to free enterprise and private property, for example, is mentioned ahead of compassion for the poor, which is obviously the right ranking for conservatives, seeing how supposedly compassionate conservatives prioritize budgets: Tax breaks for everybody who doesn't need any more money and crackers and catsup for the poor; you know, "vegetables" in the diet. Or no subsidies for heating oil. It took America to popularize the concept of free-enterprise, and American conservatives to give the concept a bad name.

6. 4 out of 6 items in this list appear desirable to me. The non-desirable ones are appeasement and capitulation to jihad and sharia. In fact, one should never appease those who seek to establish a religiously inspired form of government, no matter which religion.

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